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W 76 MILITARY OFFICER JANUARY 2016


WATER SCARCITY AFFECTS EVERY CONTINENT.


Currently, one-fi fth of the world’s population lives in areas of water scarcity, resulting in se- vere food shortages and a high incidence of in- fectious disease. And water has no substitute.


Unlike other resources, such as ener- gy or food, water cannot be replaced by new sources. By 2025, two-thirds of the world’s population, includ- ing those living in the U.S., could be under stress conditions.


Scarcity at home Water scarcity — a lack of suffi cient usable water to meet demand — is not unique to typically arid re- gions. You need only turn to the state where Americans get the ma- jority of their food: California. In a recent television interview, Dr. Jay Famiglietti, a hydrologist, professor, and senior water scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, ex- plained the situation in California: “Snow and rain are like the income. Our reservoirs are like the check- ing account, and the groundwater is like a long-term reserve. So we have no income right now, the checking account is running out … and we are hitting that groundwater really, really hard, and it’s disappearing really, really rapidly.” According to an article by Famiglietti in the LA Times in March 2015, NASA satel- lite data show “the amount of water stored in the Sacramento and San


Joaquin river basins was 34 mil- lion acre-feet below normal in 2014. That loss is nearly 1.5 times the capacity of Lake Mead, America’s largest reservoir.” But California is not alone, says Denise Gutzmer, a drought im- pact specialist with the National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC) at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln. The center’s Nov. 3 2015, U.S. Drought Monitor map shows Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington have exceptional or extreme drought conditions, while other areas of the West have severe drought conditions. And even with all the snowfall the Northeast expe- rienced this past winter, the region is deemed abnormally dry.


Water scarcity causes The U.N. says water scarcity is both a natural and a human-made phenomenon. A growing and more affl uent global population requires ever-increasing amounts of food and energy. Demand will continue to strain the supply because more than 80 percent of worldwide freshwater is used for energy, live- stock, and crop production. It takes,


PHOTOS: PREVIOUS SPREAD: LEFT, CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF WATER RESOURCES; RIGHT, CPL. ELIZE MCKELVEY, USMC


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